I am a proud victim of the travel bug. Yeah, I know “proud” and “victim” don’t usually go together in sentences, but that is definitely what I am.
I can (approximately) pinpoint it to the summer of 2006 when I went to Europe for the first time. I went with a student ambassador program, and I was fifteen years old. I remember having no fears at any point during the entire experience–before, during, or after. Not at the meeting point where my parents dropped me off and said goodbye, or on the airplane where I sat in the middle seat between two other students whom I did not know at all. Not even in the home of the local English family that I lived with for a few days, and certainly not at the very top of the London Eye, the largest ferris wheel in the world. And for some reason, I didn’t feel a pinch of fear when, days before our flight home, a terrorist plot to detonate explosives on flights traveling from the UK to the US/Canada was discovered and broadcast all over the news.
Maybe I was too young and ignorant to really understand that the threat was severe. Regardless, travel or anything related to it, has never really scared me, and I am eternally and indescribably grateful for that.
I discovered earlier this year that travel just isn’t for everyone. Not because of fear, but because of perspective. At first I was baffled at the idea of someone not preferring travel over anything else. But then I thought: that’s okay. Although my wish for the world is for each person to make the journey to every corner and crevice of the earth, I wouldn’t want anyone to be unhappy doing so. People find adventures in different ways.
In May, I was traveling around Europe with my brother. I had been living in Spain for 5 months, and this was the final leg of my time abroad. We went on a Mediterranean cruise and then found ourselves in Switzerland for a few days. While in Lucerne we rode a ferry to cross the river and and get to the hiking trails. This was the view:
Spectacular right? Right.
I could not stop looking around and smiling. I didn’t even want to blink. I like to think that I’m good at capturing the beauty of a place via a photograph, but unfortunately none that I took that day did Lake Lucerne and its mountains ANY justice at all.
Surrounded by such beauty, my brother and I were wide-eyed and giddy. I remained this way for the entire ninety minutes of the ferry, but at one point I looked over to see that my brother was reading a book. WHAT? HOW ARE YOU LOOKING AT WORDS RIGHT NOW? A hundred questions like these raced through my mind as I looked from the mountains and the lake…to my brother with his face buried in a book. Still, I cannot understand how he wasn’t entranced by everything around us in that moment.
But that’s when I realized that not everyone is as impressed or excited over tall green mountains, bright blue skies, and mysterious Swiss lakes as I am. That’s also when I realized that life is about perspective. How I see things vs. how my brother sees things vs. how you see things. That’s a lot of ways to see things. And it’s wonderful that we have a lot of ways to see things.
We found adventures in different ways that day. I preferred the horizon in that moment, while my brother preferred an adventure in literature. Maybe on another trip, it will be the other way around.